They promised me glory.
I wanted peace.
They told me "This shall advance the glorious Revolution."
I wanted nothing to do with the Revolution.
They said it would barely hurt.
I screamed until I could scream no more.
They said it would be over quickly.
The doctors came again and again.
Why? Why was I chosen? I was no revolutionary. I was no Nationalist. I was nobody. Why?
They changed me. They broke my body and rebuilt it to do their bidding. The young men told me that I was truly an honor to the Revolution. I did not feel like one. I knew what I really was. A tool. That's all. A tool. A magical tool, but a tool nonetheless.
At first, I tried to stop it. I ripped the magic metal out of me. The doctors saw. They told the young men, who told me the bad words. I stopped.
I was put into a room. It was cold, and bare. Just a bed, nothing more. I curled up into it and cried. Why did they choose me? Why?
They took me on a plane. They told me I needed to repay their "gift" to me. What gift? I did not see a gift. Tools are not made to be given as gifts.
They took me off the plane, and I saw that we were far from the cold, cold place where I had been. The trees were tall, and the sounds were strange. The plants grew in strange colors, and the air was thick and sticky.
The soldiers took me to a field of death. There were bodies everywhere. Young men cut down in the prime of their youth like the rice and wheat I cut down in my past life. Blood streamed and pooled in eddies in the flow of a river of death.
Then, people started shooting at us, from the trees. Bullets ripped through the air.
They told me to kill. I did not want to. They said the words, and I killed. And I killed again. And again. And again.
I hacked through a tree to kill the boy behind it. His friend tried to shoot me. I stopped him, and then, he was dead too. I tried to stop. They said the words again, and I began to cry, as the magic metal inside of me pulled me forward.
The river swelled.
The next time the young men came to see me, they told me I was in for a surprise.
I asked them if I was going home.
They told me that I was being sent for a special mission.
"Finally, we will wipe out the Nationalists forever. You will do your country a great service. We have begun by taking the islands that they held onto. You will follow when we finally invade them."
I asked them why. They did not answer, and insisted that it was "For the Revolution." I told them that I did not love the Revolution. They became angry.
"The Revolution gave you your gift. You will show your gratitude to the Revolution, or else."
I refused. There would be no more killing.
"You will obey!"
Then, they said the words. And they made them hurt. I was a coward.
They put me on a beach. They pointed towards the "enemy."
The slope of the beach was covered in walls, bunkers, and barbed wire, manned by soldiers. I saw no enemies, though. Only scared men and boys.
I ran forward. I tried to stop myself. The magic was stronger.
I was tired. So very tired. No more death. No more killing. I wanted nothing but peace. Peace. Peace. Peace.
And the magic stopped.
The magic stopped.
They screamed "Kill" again.
The magic pulled me forward again, and one of the enemy cried out as he died.
Then I stopped.
"Kill the rest of them!"
I killed already.
"They are escaping! Go after them!"
I ran after them. But I did not stop them.
"You are a tool! You will obey us!"
They took me away. They put me away. I left my cold cell for an even colder one. The doctors locked me inside, and spat on me, saying that I was counter-revolutionary scum.
I did not care. They had finally let me go.
Before I fell asleep, I thought that I had finally gotten peace. No more killing. No more death. Only peace.
When I awoke, the sky was grey. It was pouring rain. I blinked.
I thought I was free. No more killing. No more death. Had they finally come for me again?
I burst into tears. Where was my home? Where were the young men? Where was I?
The lab and the doctors and the young men and the officers and the soldiers were gone. I was in a ruin of a building, with the sky weeping above me. The landscape was bleak and ruined.
There was no one in sight.
But what if they came back?
What if they made me kill again?
What if I could not stop them?
I screamed. I would not listen to them anymore.
I would never kill again.
An abandoned rusty screwdriver lay on the ground. A discarded tool for a discarded tool. How poetic.
I took it, and stabbed it into my ear. Blood gushed out, and the inside of my ears exploded in sticky and hot agony. I screamed again, as tears, rain, and blood mixed together. I bit my lip, and stabbed the screwdriver deep inside my ear again and again and again until I could feel nothing except the blood in my mouth.
I did it again for the other ear. I cried out again, the screwdriver falling from my hand as I fell to the ground, sobbing. I wanted no more death. No more killing. The magic metal came out again, covering me, though I beat against it, screaming and crying. I hated it. I hated it I hated it I hated it.
Why would it not go away?
Where had my life gone?
I curled up, tears streaming down my face once again.
In the distance, I saw men coming. They had come for me. I did not care. Nothing could make me kill again.
"What do you think it is?" the field specialist asked.
"Best not to get near it. It could be dangerous," the team leader said, scratching his chin. "Let's get back to finding that damn skip."
"C'mon, man, it's an old woman. Look, we gotta inspect her at least."
"…fine. Let's take a look."
They slowly approached the woman, weapons leveled at the curled-up body. They stopped 5 meters away from the body, just in case.
"Ma'am? Are you alright? Ma'am?" the lead specialist asked, still with his gun on the woman.
"I don't think she can hear us. Look, her ears are bleeding."
"What do you suggest?"
"Let's get closer." The lead agent nodded, and moved closer slowly, while the rest of the team stayed back, still aiming at the curled-up woman.
The first agent got nearer. The woman made no move to respond, and the team saw that she was sobbing. The lead containment specialist leaned down and touched her shoulder.
Suddenly, thick metal arms erupted out of scars on the woman's arms, legs, and spine. They formed a wall, and the specialist barely managed to yank his hand away in time.
"Fuck!" The specialist tripped and fell backwards.
The woman mumbled. Her voice was hoarse, tired, but above all, sad.
"What's she saying? That's not Mandarin or Cantonese. What language is that? Anyone know?"
The containment agent's brow furrowed. "I think it's Hangzhou, or… no, Pinghua. Definitely Pinghua." He leaned closer.
"Well? What's she saying?"
The specialist listened carefully. "She's begging us 'No more. No more.' I don't know what she's talking about. And now's she's saying 'No more pain.'"
"Well, she's definitely anomalous. I'm calling in backup to help us with this one. Chen, see if you can get her to talk. Show her a pen and paper, maybe?"
The woman on the ground curled up tighter. As the containment specialist sat down on the ground next to her, he heard her muttering again.
"I am a tool. Why am I here? I want my peace. I want my home. I am a tool."